So, lately your yearly vacations to the International Cheese Rolling Festival have left you feeling unfulfilled. Don't despair: There's always voluntourism, a growing movement that allows you to travel the world while helping the needy. A recent survey found that two-thirds of American high school students have considered this type of volunteer vacation.
This isn't a new trend among rich white people, either.
Traditional organizations mostly look for volunteers with relevant skills: doctors, nurses, dentists, qualified teachers and people fluent in foreign languages. Still, they also welcome unskilled travelers who can do stuff like clerical work and cleaning while the professionals offer the help that's desperately needed.
How We Half-Ass It
Acquiring a professional skill can take years of effort, and typing up vaccination reports doesn't exactly make for great travel photos to send back home. So instead, the boom in voluntourism is focused on prepackaged tours offering unskilled volunteers a wide range of exciting activities: weeklong stays looking after children in AIDS orphanages, short trips to Africa to build houses and stints teaching English in isolated parts of South America.
"These people need my liberal arts degree and ability to swing a hammer haphazardly."